18-Year-Old Ali Wolff Wins $30,000 WEF Challenge Cup
WELLINGTON, FL, March 20 -
In a starting field filled with veterans, it was 18-year-old Ali Wolff of New Albany, Ohio, who emerged victorious in Thursday’s $30,000 WEF Challenge Cup Round IX held during the CSI2* Suncast Corporation, presented by Equestrian Club by Tavern on the Green, of the CN Winter Equestrian Festival, presented by Zimmerman Advertising, at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center.
Staged in the DeNemethy Arena for the first time as dressage takes center stage in the International Arena this week, the $30,000 WEF Challenge Cup Round IX attracted 36 entries. Course designer Richard Jeffery of Great Britain set a twisting and turning track over which nine horse-rider combinations were able to jump fault-free and advance to the jump-off. Three others, Andrew Welles and Cypria 6, Schuyler Riley and Lapacco, and Laura Kraut and Likido, exceeded the 80-second time allowed by less than one second to miss qualifying for the tie-breaker.
Last would prove to be best in the jump-off as the final challenger, Wolff, left all the rails up in a time of 34.79 seconds. Her time stole the lead from former trainer Chris Kappler who had posted 36.16 seconds riding Via Veneto.
“I didn’t know my horse had that kind of speed,” said an elated Wolff, enjoying the biggest victory of her young career. “I really wanted to win and I knew the only way was to do it or die trying. To compete against all the professionals like Eric Lamaze, Ian Millar, Laura Kraut, and Chris and to win feels awesome!”
With Lanoo, a 15-year-old chestnut Dutch Warmblood gelding, Wolff finished fourth individually at the 2007 North American Young Riders’ Championship. Having trained in the past with Kappler and the legendary George Morris, Wolff has been training with Michelle Grubb for the past two years.
“It’s always good when a former student beats you,” acknowledged Kappler. It was the first grand prix jump-off for Via Veneto, a 10-year-old Belgian Warmblood stallion by Non Stop that is owned by the Kamine and Dammerman families. “My horse is a young horse that’s been coming along great, he’s been moving up. He was right on the money for me today.”
While Kappler’s time of 36.16 seconds was good enough for second place, Amy Millar narrowly missed catching it when she flew to the final fence, cheered on by the crowd, in a time of 36.17 seconds. Riding Costa Rica Z, a 13-year-old grey Holsteiner mare, the 31-year-old Canadian competitor from Perth, Ont., ended up third. It was the same position they finished in during Round V of the $30,000 WEF Challenge Cup.
Week 10 of the 2008 CN Winter Equestrian Festival, presented by Zimmerman Advertising, the CSI2* Suncast Corporation, presented by Equestrian Club by Tavern on the Green will feature Friday’s $10,000 Wellington Golf Cars Welcome Stake as well as Sunday’s $75,000 Suncast Grand Prix CSI2*.
Class 100 - $30,000 WEF Challenge Cup Round 9
1 - 2062 LANOO
ALI WOLFF 0.00 77.77 0.00 34.79 BLACKLICK BEND FARM
The 2008 CN Winter Equestrian Festival attracts the best horses and riders from around the world to Wellington and offers more than $5 million in prize money. For more information, visit www.equestriansport.com